NEWS – A Little Touch of PTSD In the Night


It’s 2:30am on my wp-1467279219886.jpgthird night home from the hospital. Adjusting to survival is turning out to be a challenge. The struggle of my life has always been struggling with my life or, perhaps my more generous friends would say, getting out of my own way or maybe they’d just say that I’ve been nuts. I don’t know what I’m being shy about. The hardest part of my life up until now has been depression. I spent more than thirty years in therapy with the same psychiatrist [BTW, if any reader is familiar with what’s doing with Dr. Lawrence Bloom in Montclair, NJ, I’m very curious about how he and his family are doing]. Depression feels like a funny name for the emotional cocoon I was wrapped in for all those years, out of date, like referring to Klaatu’s ship as the cutting edge of space travel. A lot that has changed over time would have changed without my doing. I had a very disapproving father who passed a few years ago, taking much of his disapproval with him and leaving a very generous estate in its place. It was a lucky exchange. The antidepressant medications available now make the tricyclates I started off with years ago feel like a boilermaker with a pickled egg on the side. I’m in a very happy marriage and my mother is alive and my daughter is doing well. What could be depressing? Yet Sunday, following a visit from the Grubmans and from Birdie, I exploded into hysterical tears like I can not remember occurring after boyhood. [I of course was undyingly sad after Dorit’s death but I was too much the manager, too much in the center of things to give in to bawling – the one time I remember I gave up to sobbing uncontrollably was when I received a malpractice award concerning her medical miscare and the injustice of me being the surviving one was too overwhelming too move on]. And there on the 17th floor of NYU, I couldn’t stop weeping. I had come so close. It was so frightening. I looked down and saw the scars, the trail of my disease made flesh. So that’s how it started Sunday. Monday, around midday at the hospital, I was waiting for my turn to go back into the endoscopy lab when one of the GI residents came in and told me they had decided I didn’t need anything else before being discharged, that I could get ready to leave. I thought about the many nights many years ago I had kept my father company at the hospital, bringing in Chinese food to share as he slid from aphasia to full dementia, my uncle Bill, who was on NYU’s architectural review board, managing his care and I thought of Bill’s own final visits to the hospital, events I was protected from knowledge of as I was recovering from my lymphoma at the time and I thought “I’m the only one who gets to walk out. In the only one who healed.” And again, I could not control my tears. And as I waited to leave, I read a FB post by Marc Nathan lamenting his distance, in Nashville, from friends who needed him and I had the hubris to think I was one of them and that, yes, it would have been better if he was around. You can see, I’m very tender at this point but I’m also completely alive. I’m letting my yea be yea. It’s all coming through to me in a way that’s inconsistent with being depressed and though I was celebrating, you couldn’t call it happy. So Jolean and I get a cab home. We make camp in the bedroom and I start posting favorite songs on FB, each a tearjerker, or at least designed to jerk my tears. And as I’m doing this, I discover something – just about every Bruce Springsteen concert I attended from 1974 until 1980 is available for streaming online. I think about this. 42 years of me and Bruce, sharing our eyes, our thoughts, our changes and favorite covers. And I think about Jeff Peters, Shelley Abramowitz’s friend when Shelley, Ken, Larry and I were roommates on Cummings Road in Boston. Jeff pulled us to that first show Springsteen show at the Academy, he begged us to go, we had to see this guy. Of course I still remember the show, the still unreleased “Jungleland”with the violin, the cover of “Cupid”. Of course, I remember Jeff who Shelley told me, when I saw him two years ago, is also gone. I’m not sure I can quite describe the insight I’m going for here. Yes, it’s a wonderful world. Yes, there’s beauty and sweetness and tragedy to be sifted from the ether, to be netted like a butterfly and then released to fly again. That’s not what I mean. I mean the miasma these all float in, the stuff of perception itself, is a kind of madness. Or maybe I mean there’s all kinds of madness and sometimes it blinds you and sometimes it’s as essential as clarity in mediating the world. Our maybe it’s just thrilling to survive. I don’t think I can continue to live on this edge I’m on right now too much longer but there’s nothing you can do that’ll make me willingly step back.

3 Responses to “NEWS – A Little Touch of PTSD In the Night”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Too beautiful for words(except your words)

  2. Anonymous Says:

    I am glad you’re well- in mind and body

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